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2017 Fries Lecture

Frederick D. Gregory Norman Fries Distinguished Lectureship Series



An Astronaut’s View of Choices, Influences, Contributions and Later Discoveries

  • THURSDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2017 AT 7:30 P.M.
  • Nessmith-Lane Assembly Hall at the Nessmith-Lane Conference Center

Frederick D. Gregory is a former astronaut with NASA, a retired Air Force Colonel and was the first African-American man to command a space shuttle mission. Gregory has logged more than 400 hours in space and says his travels often led him to reflect. As he looked down on the Earth from above, he wondered what choices its people had been offered and taken; what goals they considered, evaluated and selected; what influences shaped their paths and what molded their characters. He believes that each choice taken — or not taken — has a profound effect on a person’s life, a belief displayed in his own life, which took him from his early days as a Boy Scout to a career as a space traveler.

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Frederick Drew Gregory is a former  NASA Astronaut and former NASA Deputy Administrator. He also served briefly  as NASA Acting Administrator in early 200S, covering the period  between the departure of Sean O’Keefe and the swearing in of Michael Griffin.  As Acting Administrator, Mr. Gregory led the NASA team and managed its resources as NASA sought to advance The US Vision for Space Exploration.

In 2002, Mr. Gregory was nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the United States Senate as Deputy Administrator. In that capacity, he served as the chief operating officer  for the Agency. He was responsible  for directing and managing many of the programs  as well as the day-to-day operations and activities  at NASA. Prior to becoming the Deputy Administrator, Mr. Gregory served as the Associate Administrator for Space Flight from December 2001to August 2002. From June 1992 to December 2001, he held the position of Associate Administrator, Office of Safety and Mission Assurance. He retired from NASA in December 200S and has worked  as an independent consultant  he fully retired in January, 2010.

Mr. Gregory has extensive experience  as an astronaut, test pilot, and manager of flight safety programs and launch support  operations. He was selected as an astronaut  in January 1978 and has logged 4SS hours in space: as pilot  for the Orbiter  Challenger (STS-S1B) in 198S, as spacecraft commander aboard Discovery (STS-33) in 1989, and as spacecraft commander aboard Atlantis  (STS-44) in 1991.

Mr. Gregory retired as a Colonel in the United States Air Force in December 1993 after logging 7,000 hours in more than SO types of aircraft, including SSO combat missions in Vietnam. His almost 30-year Air Force career included  serving as a helicopter pilot and as a fighter  pilot. He graduated  from the United States Naval Test Pilot School and served as an engineering test pilot  for the Air Force and for NASA.

Mr. Gregory holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Air Force Academy and a Master’s degree in Information Systems from George Washington  University. He is a member  or past member  of numerous  societies, including the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, American Helicopter Society, Air Force Academy Association of Graduates, the United States Air Force Academy Endowment, the National Technical Association, the Tuskegee Airmen, the Order of the Daedalians, and the Association of Space Explorers.

He was a recipient of the Presidential Rank Award for Distinguished Executives for 2003. His military awards include the Legion of Merit, Defense Superior Service Medal, 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 16 Air Medals, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal;  his NASA awards include 3 Space Flight Medals, 2 Outstanding Leadership Medals, Distinguished Service Medal; other awards include the US Air Force Academy Distinguished Graduate Award, the National Intelligence Medal, the National Society of Black Engineers Distinguished National Scientist Award, the George Washington  University  Distinguished  Alumni Award, the Charles R. Drew University  of Medicine and Science President’s Medal,  Honorary  Doctorates  from the College of Aeronautics, The University  of the District of Columbia, and Southwestern University. In 2004 and 200S, he was designated one of the SO Most Important Blacks in Technology. He was also awarded  the Air Force Association Ira Eaker Award, as well as numerous  civic and community honors.

Married to the former  Barbara Archer of Washington, D.C. until her death in 2008. They had two grown children  and four grandchildren. He is now married to the former  Annette  Becke of Washington, D.C.

Last updated: 9/22/2017